I think I have a new favorite musuem. This last weekend, Renee and I visited the College Park Aviation Museum for the ‘Coupe Club Dance, a 40s themed party in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Ercoupe. And before you even ask, no, before this event I had not idea what an ercoupe is. However, after a bit of quick reconnoitering I quickly learned (they had a great scavenger hunt to discover facts about the plane). And of course, I can never resist a good cause, all proceeds from the evening benefit the Field of Firsts Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support the museum’s educational and exhibit programming.
The Ercoupe is a low-wing monoplane aircraft. The ERCO 310, which included a fully cowled engine, made its first flight in October 1937 at College Park Airport and was soon renamed the “Ercoupe”. The easy-to-fly design included unique design features, including a large glazed canopy for improved visibility. It was designed to be the safest fixed-wing aircraft that aerospace engineering could provide, and something that anyone could fly. It seems the design and advertizing were focused on making it as simple and as ubiquitous as the automobile. To the point that they were even sold at Macys!
And as a bit of itneresting trivia: Jessica Cox, the world’s first licensed armless pilot, got her Sport Pilot Certificate for an ERCO 415-C Ercoupe. She didn’t even need to make any modifications to the plane. The Ercoupe’s design made this the perfect plane for her because it was actually built from the beginning without rudder pedals. Instead, the rudder is interconnected with the ailerons through the yoke. This unique design allows Cox to control the airplane with one foot controlling the yoke while the other foot controls the throttle. Cool, eh?